Novi, Mich. — Developments in technology are changing what manufacturers are putting in new vehicles, and it is all about how the innovations are being integrated, according to automotive interior experts.
"We're seeing that our customers are demanding a lot more in the areas like communication, connectivity, decoration, entertainment, and we expect that those trends are going to continue in the interior," said Nora Beevers, director of innovation at auto supplier Grupo Antolin North America.
Beevers was one of three interiors experts who spoke at the Plastics and Rubber in Automotive conference, held Jan. 15 in Novi.
Asked whether one of those areas of focus is more important than others, she said they are all equally important, but "different things in different vehicles are important," such as a high-end vehicle vs. a ride-sharing vehicle.
Jeffrey Helms, global automotive sales director of engineered materials at materials firm Celanese Corp., sees a big effort around weight and cost, aesthetics, tactility, and touch and feel.
Matthew Thomas, interior trim and overhead systems architect at General Motors Co., echoed Beevers' and Helms' statements.
"On top of that, though, understanding what the customers want and understanding how to integrate those customer wants into what the vehicle can support as well as paying for the battery and producing the costs but also the safety of those and maintaining the quality," Thomas said.